3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 1/26/23

Basketball is the most consistent sport for daily fantasy purposes.

A top slugger in baseball will have his fair share of 0-for-4 days, and an elite fantasy football player is at risk of having games where his team's offense is shut down.

A high-salaried NBA stud is generally going to get his, though. With so many possessions in a game providing opportunities to produce, top fantasy basketball options will post high scores just about every night.

While this consistency puts us in an excellent position to identify top plays, it also means you can't afford to miss when you're paying up for someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, paying up and getting a dud will likely leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today?

Kyrie Irving, PG/SG, Nets ($10,100)

Kyrie Irving appears to have taken his game to the next level with Kevin Durant on the shelf.

In the past four games, Irving has posted 59.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes and eclipsed 49 FanDuel points in all contests. His 33.9% usage rate isn't quite as high as you'd think in that stretch, but that considerably helps his floor in daily fantasy.

Kyrie has posted 61.3% of his FanDuel production from scoring the ball for the entire season, but that ratio has dropped to 57.3% in this four-game stretch where he's taken on more of a "floor general" approach.

At home, the game environment for Irving today is as solid as it gets. The Nets are hosting the Pistons, who hold the league's second-worst defensive rating (118.3) and cede the third-most FanDuel points per game to point guards.

Normally, Detroit is a significant blowout risk, but with just a 7.5-point spread, I'll happily target the surging star again on Thursday.

Nikola Vucevic, C, Bulls ($8,400)

It's surprising to see our projections not extraordinarily high on Nikola Vucevic because I definitely am.

Vucevic is currently projected for just 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds, but his props on FanDuel Sportsbook are 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds with minus-money odds in the favorable direction. That's much more where I sit entering this elite matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte has been notoriously awful against the five spot this season, allowing the third-most points and most rebounds to opposing centers. When you wrap it all inside, the Hornets spit out as the friendliest FanDuel opponent for pivots.

There's not any significant injury news with the Bulls today, but Vucevic doesn't really need that at this salary. He's eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in four straight, and this is his easiest matchup of the bunch.

There are plenty of options at the spot today, including Alperen Sengun, Nicolas Claxton, and Deandre Ayton. I'll still make sure to get to Chicago's big man above all in single-entry formats.

Darius Garland, PG/SG, Cavaliers ($8,400)

The most substantial injury news of Thursday is with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Unfortunately, Donovan Mitchell appeared to reinjure his groin late in Tuesday's game against the Knicks, and that's got him listed as questionable for Cleveland's game tonight in Houston.

There is a bevy of reasons why the Cavs likely don't risk Mitchell. Chief among them is the 29-20 squad should handle the 11-37 Rockets without him. For that reason, we can welcome Darius Garland back into the fold just after we'd thought he'd have to leave for a bit.

Garland's salary is elevated from normal because he averages 43.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Spida off the floor. That's come on a team-best 29.8% usage rate, too.

Of course, this is a dream scenario if you're looking to roster Garland, Evan Mobley, or any other Cavs. The lack of firepower has dropped them to just 8.5-point road favorites. If Garland gets a full night of work without a blowout, he could detonate a Rockets squad allowing the most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.